Ecology, diversity, conservation and ecosystem services
A total of 26 ambassadors from 20 different countries were invited to attend the first field course. The course emphasised capacity building, collaboration and teamwork among countries.
Additionally, it included an intense syllabus on bat taxonomy, monitoring techniques, ecosystem services, threats to bats, disease ecology, behaviour, morphology, evolution, genetics, science communication, outreach, fundraising and grant writing.
Practical sessions incluided cave visits that provided hands-on training on bat research and monitoring techniques. Participants were taught different methods to catch and record bats including using hand nets, mist nets, harp traps, and triple high nets. They were also taught how to safely handle bats and to take samples for genetic monitoring. Furthermore, students learned the basics of acoustic sampling design and monitoring and collected >100,000 acoustic data files that have contributed to building a local call library and reference material for identification of Kenyan bat species.
Six team research projects were conducted, studying geometric morphometrics of wings and skulls, bat-ectoparasite networks, science communication and habitat use and echolocation using acoustic technologies.
“The GSB course was by many means the most incredible journey I have made so far. Not only did I learn and gained so many technical and academic skills that I will use in future projects, but I also learned how strong I can be. ”